Some of the changes — such as the onset of hybrid work, artificial intelligence and flex space — are apparent. Some are less so, and the transformation in where and how we work is accelerating.
Occupiers of space have never needed more industry- and market-specific service, support and consultation than they do today. To meet and pre-empt this shifting landscape for tenants, Colliers Canada has launched its Tenant Advisory Council (TAC). TAC is a team of cross-country industry experts and tenant-centric brokers with more than 100 years of combined experience helping occupiers find, secure, design, shape and thrive in their workspace. This group of five broker specialists and one team leader have united to super-charge Colliers’ overall approach to occupier services nationwide.
TAC provides specialized consulting to occupiers
"TAC provides highly specialized service designed for tenants, locally and nationally," says TAC member Matt Johnson, senior vice-president with Colliers in Toronto. "Our team has decades of experience supporting occupiers of space across various asset classes and industries. The workplace could be an office, a lab, or a co-working space. It could be located in an urban or suburban area.”
Johnson says the team is hyper-focused, not only on providing sound and proactive real estate services, but also on business consultation with clients who, in some cases, don't have a clear view of the gaps or challenges in their own business and property considerations. Companies are facing changing and expanding demands and needs from their talent, and that will influence workplace and space decisions, but the best choices to make are not always so clear.
"TAC will serve as a torchbearer to establish strategies for occupancy services through the Colliers organization, which includes more than 200 advisors providing services exclusively to occupiers of space," says Yanis Tzatzoglou, senior vice-president with Colliers, also in Toronto.
Johnson and Yanis are joined on TAC by Colin Scarlett, vice chairman with the firm in Vancouver; Justin Mayerchak, executive vice-president in Calgary; and Tobin Davis, vice chairman in Toronto.
"Each of our members has a specialized set of skills and expertise," Yanis says. "Now formally united as a team, we are focused on levelling-up our broader team of advisors across Canada to ensure those decades of experience help inform future activity and client services.”
Yanis called TAC a “manifestation of our commitment to continuous improvement”.
Specifically, TAC will consolidate and communicate best practices, market intelligence and strategies throughout the organization’s occupier advisors. TAC will proactively cultivate and share relationships and connections the team has developed over their decades of occupier service experience, and help streamline occupier services across the country and globally.
Colliers has long history of occupier-centric services
Occupier services has always been central to Colliers’ enterprising approach, says Scarlett. "I've been working at Colliers for almost 26 years, and during that time, I've only worked for occupiers of space."
Scarlett says TAC and the broader Colliers team realize that companies don't have real estate challenges; they have business challenges. TAC, along with the national roster of advisors it supports, has the experience, insights and unique competency to provide those business solutions as full-service consultants who help steward workspace needs from conception, to fruition, to evolution.
The key for TAC is to explore the nuanced details of every client industry. For instance, members of TAC have, as individuals and as teams, focused for decades on various industries including health sciences; technology; co-working; professional services like accounting, law and engineering; retail; energy; and many others in markets from Kamloops to Toronto, Calgary to Saskatoon, Moncton to Kelowna.
“We know the questions to ask," Scarlett says. "In some cases, due to the amount of time we've spent on complex projects within these industries, we know these industries better than some companies operating within them. We can spend time with a senior leadership team asking all the relevant questions about their business needs, which we then feed back into the real estate strategy.”
Talent is changing, and so are our workplaces
Twelve to eighteen months from now, many companies around Canada will be working differently due to changing technology, business culture and space innovations.
For instance, the effects of hybrid work are getting clearer. Colliers’ New Age of Hybrid Work report found that 21% of companies are considering flex office space as part of their space strategy. Another 46% remain unsure. Altogether, that's a lot of companies that could be changing their entire approach to office. They'll need effective guidance and data as they make those decisions.
Having the right-sized workspace in a great location no longer cuts it. It's also essential for employers and companies to build more diverse workforces that better reflect Canadian cultures, identities and people. Moreover, as the owners of our built environment take action to improve the performance and sustainability of our buildings to meet national emissions reduction targets, the companies that occupy them will play a role in the effectiveness of these strategies.
TAC members will help the national team understand and anticipate shifts in the business environment, the group says.
“We are the leading commercial real estate firm in Canada, with global reach and data intelligence that equip our team to support our occupier clients as the work environment changes around them,” says Davis.
Davis says the TAC team and the advisors it is now empowering and supporting will help their business clients by thinking critically and strategically about their space needs.
"There are only a handful of advisors in Canada that can run a 250,000-square-foot design-build and understand the intricacies of that process, because they've done it before," says Mayerchak, who is based in Calgary. “We know how to pull resources from other parts of the company and provide a suite of services that support the client through the entire process, which arms them with confidence in their workplace decision."
Mayerchak says TAC is also about building and deepening connections throughout the Colliers network of national and international clients, and helping forge business connections, service arrangements and collaborations within and between industries.
Generally, real estate represents about 6% of a company's expenses, Mayerchak says. "A company’s first and highest expense is the people, which could be upwards of 80%. But those two things are very much connected.”
That means it’s essential for a company's real estate or workspace to meet the needs and wants of its personnel and business objectives, Mayerchak says. “Your real estate, while a smaller portion of costs, can have an outsized impact on the overall experience and functioning of your people and your business.”
"We're constantly working with businesses to help them create a better work environment that's going to make their people more productive, happier and healthier," Mayerchak says.
Super-powering today’s approach with decades of intelligence and experience
"Colliers has been leading in occupier advisory for many decades," says Hurst in Vancouver. "We have the knowledge, the resources, the market experience, the industry intelligence. Now, we are bridging that expertise to the broader team to super-power our roster of occupier advisors."
That means sharing resources, best practices and capturing business across markets, asset classes and business streams. In Alberta, the team is working with occupiers in the energy sector, but also focused on the tech sector and finance business, Hurst says. "There's no one limit to the area of the business that we can focus on.”
"TAC is about doing our work smarter as individuals, as service lines and as a national organization," Hurst says. “That's really what we're trying to expand upon here within the tenant advisory landscape. Our platform at Colliers is to make everybody more informed, connected and efficient — and to increase the opportunities that are presented in each and every market.”
Mayerchak adds: “We are a global publicly-traded entity with considerable resources, including tech, data and people. Now we’re boosting how we share and develop that experience and intelligence as a group and as a company. We’re better together.”